M in sign language

Different sign languages throughout the world have their different manual alphabets used to fingerspell spoken/written words of spoken languages, including people's names, some titles, etc. that don't have signs.

ASL Alphabet

Here shows the letter L in American Sign Language (ASL) used by Deaf people in the United States and Canada.

Meaning: The 13th letter of the alphabet in English and American manual alphabet, a consonant.

Pronunciation (sign description): Thumb is under the closed fingers with its tip protruding between ring finger and pinky and its palm facing down in neutral space.


When fingerspelling the double letters of M, use the tap method. For beginners, don't bounce each letter when fingerspelling except for the some double letters.

Baby signing M

The form of M is one of a large number of some marked or unnatural handshapes. In language acquisition of a signed language, ASL-speaking children don't acquire this handshape until much later after many other handshapes in ASL words. Aside that, there aren't many ASL words with the handshape M, nevertheless.

By the age 3.5 to 4 or so, ASL-speaking preschoolers may be able to form the letter M when fingerspelling the ABCs.

Vocabulary exercise with "M"

Can you think of as many ASL signs that begin with the dominant-handed handshape "M" or loose "M" as possible?

Possible answers

Here is a list of some examples: MONDAY, MONDAYS or EVERY-MONDAY, MORMON, ...

Hint: There are not many. The handshape "M" is one of the "marked" handshapes that this handshape is not natural in signing production.

Other manual alphabets

This image illustrates the letter M in the two-handed British manual alphabet that is used by Deaf signers in British Sign Language (BSL) in the U.K., Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).

Letter M in BSL
Letter M in BSL

For the letter M in the BSL alphabet, the handshape of the dominant hand forms with the index finger, middle finger, and ring finger straight together while the thumb and the pinkie held together on the palm. The upper front of the fingers of the dominant palm-down hand rests on the non-dominant palm-up flat hand.

American Sign Language (ASL) in North America and French Sign Language (FSL) in France share the similar one-handed manual alphabet with minor differences. Because, Old ASL is descended from Old French Sign Language (Old LSF) in the early 1800s, even though, both modern languages naturally developed by Deaf people are very different today.

Related letters and words

Previous letter: L and next letter N.


Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

How to write ASL for letter M

Written ASL digit for the alphabetical letter M. [Contributed by ASLwrite, 2019]

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